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Dave Brubeck Quartet: London Flat, London Sharp (2005)

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Dave Brubeck Quartet: London Flat, London Sharp No stars How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

It's ironic that Dave Brubeck, alive and well into his 80's, is best known for a song he didn't even write over forty years ago. Ironic, because, as London Flat, London Sharp testifies, his own writing has only improved with age. With the wisdom that comes with decades of playing, his touch on the piano, while still spry, has lightened up from it's oft-criticized heavy handedness of an earlier time.

With lengthy intros, as on the tango "Time of Our Madness," or the extended solo during the swinging "Mr. Fats," Brubeck makes a good case. Articulate and nimble, sly and provocative, his glassy tone is perfectly meshed with bassist Michael Moore and drummer Randy Jones. Bobby Militello, forever cursed to be compared to Paul Desmond, Brubeck's most famous partner, is content to be himself: blowing hard, intensely, and strong on the likes of the title piece, melancholy (on flute) and wistful during "Steps to Peace," and only succumbing to Desmond on a retake of the '61 composition "Unisphere."

Brubeck is still able to play well with time signatures, using shifting meters throughout the entire recording. Closing with a nostalgic and dreamy reading of one of his first compositions on solo piano, "Ballad of the Rhine," he amply shows that time has not caught up to him.

Track Listing: London Flat, London Sharp; To Sit and Dream; Time of Our Madness; Unisphere; Steps to Peace; Forty Days; Cassandra; Yes, We All Have Our Cross to Bear; Mr. Fats; Ballad of the Rhine.

Personnel: Dave Brubeck: piano; Bobby Militello: alto saxophone, flute; Michael Moore: bass; Randy Jones: drums.

Record Label: Telarc Records

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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